ACS Operations: A Sustainable Workplace

We have prioritized sustainability in our operations, having implemented more than 20 separate initiatives to greatly enhance sustainability at ACS’ two Washington, D.C., buildings — the eight-story Clifford & Kathryn Hach Building, built in 1959, and the 12-story Donald F. Othmer Building, built in 1988. These include a wide range of activities that led to recognition.

Our facilities management strategy is targeted to achieve three major sustainability objectives:

  • Reduce negative impact on the environment
  • Maintain safe, comfortable, cost effective but efficient operations
  • Assume leadership role within the community

Awards & Recognitions Received

A nationally accepted benchmark for green buildings sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) which recognizes buildings for being a pioneering example of sustainable design and demonstrating leadership in transforming the building industry.

  • The Othmer Building was designated Platinum LEED in January 2011. At the time of certification, it was one of only nine buildings in the United States to earn the platinum ranking.

Did you know?

Existing buildings have a profound effect on the environment. In the United States alone, buildings account for:

  • 72% of electricity consumption
  • 39% of energy use
  • 38% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
  • 40% of raw materials use
  • 30% of waste output (136 million tons annually)
  • 14% of potable water consumption
  • The Hach Building received Gold Certification LEED for Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EB: O&M) in September 2009. At the time of certification, it was one of two buildings in D.C. to achieve this certification, and one of only 40 sites nationwide out of over 4.9 million buildings.

The trusted, government-backed symbol for energy efficiency from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy-efficient products and practices.
Both Washington D.C. buildings received certification. The EPA has awarded the Hach Building an Energy Star rating each year since 2006 for energy efficiency.

The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) recognition of “outstanding businesses and organizations for their environmental stewardship, innovative best practices, pollution prevention, and resource conservation.” Chosen from among 44 applicants, ACS was one of only nine recipients, and one of only two in the Outstanding Achievement by a Large Facility category.

Bisnow on Business award “for leadership in promoting green consciousness and principles in the Washington [D.C.] region.”

Sustainability Efforts Implemented


  • U.S. Green Building Council
    A 501(c)3 non-profit community of leaders working to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation. National members are organizations, corporations and institutions across the globe.
  • EPA Green Power Leadership Club Partnership
    ACS is an EPA Green Power Partner — a program that supports the procurement of green power by offering expert advice, technical support, tools and resources. Since 2008, ACS has been awarded membership in the Green Power Leadership Club.
  • Green Roof
    In early autumn of 2010, construction began to install a meadow or “green roof,” on the roof of the Hach building. Only 1 in 10 office buildings in the Washington, D.C., area have these innovative surfaces. Green roofs use green plants growing on a specially engineered surface to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, save energy on heating and cooling, promote cleaner air, and reduce stormwater runoff that can overburden city sewers. Read the news release.
  • D.C. Department of Public Works Regional Recycling Partner
    Since 2008, ACS has been a partner. We have a comprehensive recycling program — 100% of the electronic goods leaving the buildings are recycled.
  • Renewable Energy Certificates
    Purchased renewable energy certificates (RECs) from Renewable Choice Energy equivalent to 100% of ACS’ annual electricity use. The purchase helps offset 4.6 million lbs. of CO2 annually.

Other Efforts Implemented (partial list)

  • Saved more than $60,000 in 2009 on energy costs
  • Silver/white reflective roof on the Othmer Building
  • Automatic faucets/toilets/soap dispensers
  • Waterless urinals
  • Green cleaning program
  • Outdoor water sensors
  • Bicycle rack in garage-to encourage reduction in driving
  • Solar film installed on both buildings
  • Lighting replacement — energy efficient lighting installed
  • Office occupancy sensors-installed in every office
  • Heat pumps tied into lighting sensors
  • Light sensors in garages and stairwells
  • Eliminated electric boiler in Othmer/use steam from headquarters to heat Othmer

Involving Staff in ACS Sustainability

In an effort to make the ACS headquarters a more sustainable workplace, the Greening ACS Committee was formed in 2009 to take on initiatives internally that will help with gathering and disseminating information on daily practices. Initiatives include:

  • Placing “Green Captains” on every floor of the Hach and Othmer buildings
  • Launching the Greening ACS Week that includes a webinar and distribution of sustainability tips , new recycling guidelines, and signage

Recognizing the Staff
behind the Scenes…

The ACS Facilities Department

For their efforts, the ACS Facilities Department Sustainability Initiative team was one of two teams awarded ACS’ first Catalyst Award on February 15, 2011. The ACS Catalyst Award recognizes collaborative teams for their innovative efforts, superior performance, collaboration, and risk-taking to advance ACS’ strategic goals and objectives.

The team receiving the ACS Catalyst Award from ACS Executive Director & CEO
Madeleine Jacobs and ACS Treasurer & Chief Financial Officer Brian Bernstein
From left: Jacobs, Larry Hartwell, Joanna Brosnan, Stormy Gorham,
Robert Powers, Paul Saavedra and Bernstein.